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Barcelona charged with corruption over referee payments

Spanish prosecutors on Friday charged Barcelona with corruption over payments the club made to a former refereeing chief’s company.

Two of the club’s former presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and the ex-refereeing chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira are facing the same charge.

The affair concerns alleged payments Barcelona made to Negreira, the former refereeing technical committee vice-president, for providing the club with verbal advice on topics relating to referees.

The charges come just days after current Barca boss Joan Laporta insisted his club had never “bought referees”.

Reports claim the Catalan side allegedly paid 6.5 million euros ($6.9 million) between 2001 and 2018 to Negreira’s firm.

“Let it be clear Barca have never bought referees and Barca have never had the intention of buying referees, absolutely never,” said Laporta on Tuesday.

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